Renowned educator Charlotte Mason advocated the use of more stories (and less textbooks) in the classroom because children retain meaningful narratives better than dry facts. To help my homeschool students with history, then, I transcribed this fun memorization device from a youtube video in which a clever narrator helps people memorize the US Presidents in order by telling a story!
A Story to Help You Memorize the U.S. Presidents
(It works best if you picture every scene in your mind like a picture!)
Once upon a time, an alien came to earth from another planet. This alien was short and green and his name was Waj (1. George Washington, 2. John Adams, 3. Thomas Jefferson). Waj quickly began acting like an earthling by eating his favorite candy—M&M’s (4. James Madison, 5. James Monroe) and by putting on a very human-like baseball hat with an enormous “A” on the front (6. John Quincy Adams). While walking around looking for earth people, Waj met MICHAEL JACKSON (7. Andrew Jackson) who pulled up in a big VAN (8. Martin VanBuren) with his HAIRY SON in the front seat (9. William Henry Harrison).
The van that they were driving was like a monster truck because it had really big TIRES (10. John Tyler), but one of the tires was POKED (11. James K. Polk) by a sharp object, so they hurried and called a TAILOR (12. Zachary Taylor) to sew it up and to FILL MORE (13. Millard Filmore) air into it. This tailor used a special thread that made the tire so tough that it could never be PIERCED again (14. Franklin Pierce).
Soon everyone was celebrating the fact that the tire had been fixed, with a huge celebration that included fireworks the firing of some very big CANONS (15. James Buchanan). At this celebration, there was also a huge parade led by Abraham LINCOLN (16. Abraham Lincoln). After President Lincoln, Andrew JOHNSON (17.) went marching by, because both of the presidents named “Johnson” came after presidents who were shot and killed.
After marching in the parade, Lincoln went downtown to apply for a GRANT (18. Ulysses S. Grant) because he wanted to buy some HAY (19. Rutheford B. Hayes) from the farmers. So, with the help of GARFIELD the cat (20. James Garfield), Lincoln went to King ARTHUR’s round table (21. Chester Arthur), and ordered tons of hay to be shipped to CLEVELAND, Ohio (22. Grover Cleveland). Lincoln also sent his HAIRY SON (23. Benjamin Harrison) to go to CLEVELAND (24. Grover Cleveland) and help him get the hay.
Unfortunately, they all messed up the hay order, and Lincoln was so angry with them that he banished them far away to Alaska, to the snowy Mount MCKINLEY (25. William McKinley). While walking up the mountain, the banished hikers saw lots of beautiful TEDDYbear roses (26. Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt). At the top of the mountain, they were struck by such an icy DRAFT (27, William Howard Taft) that they all got a shaky case of the WILLIES (28. Woodrow Wilson) and they all started turning to ice and HARDENING (29. Warren Harding) because they were so COOL (30. Calvin Coolidge). To get rid of all the ice, they used a HOOVER vacuum cleaner (31. Herbert Hoover) to blow away all the snow.
Then they all went down the mountain, passing by some more ROSE bushes (32. Franklin D. Roosevelt) but not the teddybear kind. Once they returned to the town from which they had come, they all rejoined the parade, where they saw a figure marching in line that was so tall and stately that they could tell he was a TRUE MAN (33. Harry S. Truman) and this man was easily recognized because he had enormous EYES (34. Dwight D. Eisenhower). Next to this tall man was a tiny man, about the size of a KEN doll (35. John F. Kennedy). After the ken doll came JOHNSON (36. Lyndon Johnson), because both Johnson presidents followed a president who was killed. But this Johnson was different because he had NICKS all over his face (37. Richard Nixon). All of the parade marchers boarded a large FORD truck (38. Gerald Ford) that was pulling a CART (39. James Carter) full of RAGgedy Ann and RAGgedy Andy dolls (40. Ronald Reagan). All of the dolls had been stacked up into the tall shape of a BUSH (41. George H. W. Bush) so tall that nobody could CLIp the limbs (42. William Clinton). But when their truck turned the corner too quickly, the gigantic BUSH (43. George W. Bush) collapsed, and the sound it made was an enormous BAM!! (44. Barack Obama)